DSM Sees UL Standard Change Giving Boost to Engineering Thermoplastics

DSM says the recent change to a UL standard covering low-voltage switchgear (LVSG) has opened up the way for plastics innovation in electrical applications such as miniature circuit breakers. With its broad portfolio of high-performance halogen-free flame-retardant engineering thermoplastic materials such as its Akulon nylon 6 and Stanyl nylon 46, the company is leading the conversion from thermosets to engineering thermoplastics for LVSG applications.

UL 1077 standard, for supplementary protectors used in electrical equipment, is widely applied in the United States and South America. The recent changes in the UL will make it possible for engineering plastics to be used in applications such as miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) in the Americas, where until now it was hardly possible to use materials other than thermosets. This change also signals a continuation in the convergence of UL and International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) standards, which will make it easier for suppliers to supply the same product globally. (IEC/EN 60947 is the standard for LVSG in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.)

Manufacturers and users of MCBs will benefit because production of MCBs in engineering plastics is more cost-effective than in thermosets such as BMC. For example, cycle times are at least 40% less than they are for BMC, material wastage is reduced, recycling is much simpler, and more innovative product design can be used for example in thin walling and integrating additional functions into the housing of the device. Housings in engineering plastics are also more robust, since the materials are more ductile than thermosets. (812) 435-7500